Wheels and tires are the first point of contact between your bike and the trail you’re riding on. And while wheel sizes and standards continue to develop year to year, Spank feels little innovation has been seen in the compliancy and responsiveness arena. Until now, of course.
With 15 years of know-how in rim and wheel design and manufacturing, Spank Industries is releasing what it’s calling, “One of the biggest innovations in rim and wheel development in recent years: The new SPIKE 350 Vibrocore for DH and the OOZY 350 for trail, all-mountain and enduro.
Going against market trends, the profile of the new rims is low with a 17mm sectional profile height and 35mm outer width and 30.5mm inner width. In lab testing, Spank claims this lower and wider profile delivers around 30% more radial compliance compared to a more conventional alloy rim of approximately 34.5mm outer width, 30mm inner width, and 22mm sectional height. This added radial compliance is claimed to reduce deflection of the wheel when it hits obstacles, rutted corners, or roots.
Instead of “jumping” off the intended line, the wheels are able to flex radially and move with the rider’s momentum and the bike’s direction. This is often referred to as the wheels “tracking” ability. This forgiving responsiveness will allow riders to increase tire pressure, as the wheel will contribute to better traction, improving acceleration and rolling speed, and reducing tire rebound.
The shallow-to-wide profile also adds lateral stiffness and torsional strength. So while the radial compliancy allows for more flex, the enhanced lateral stiffness keeps the wheel true. Likewise, torsional strength is enhanced, reducing the likelihood of the wheel buckling or taco’ing.
With an internal width of 30.5mm, the rim is versatile, fitting tires from 2.0-2.6, and even allowing for plus-size tire use without negative squaring off of tire profiles. This means tires act predictably, and cornering traction is more consistent.
Both the OOZY 350 and SPIKE 350 Vibrocore utilize this new design philosophy, while the SPIKE 350 also uses Spank’s new Vibrocore damping system. This foam core makes it ideal for trail, all mountain, and enduro use, providing a wide profile, and improved comfort and traction, but no weight penalty.
With the heightened radial compliancy of the new SPANK 350 rim, a direct result of the ratio between the incredibly low sectional profile height and the 35mm width, the engineering objective was to ensure strength, torsional and lateral, for the higher demands of DH Race and free ride. Adding 40g to the overall weight of the rim, Vibrocore foam core increases torsional strength and increases the overall fatigue life of the rim. In fact, Vibrocore facilitates modern rim designs with thinner wall thicknesses in some areas, without negative effect on strength and resilience.
Vibrocore also dampens certain vibration frequencies, ultimately meaning less vibration for the fork and rider to deal with. Both the SPIKE 350 Vibrocore and the Oozy 350 will be available as rims in 27.5 and 29er, with a suggested MSRP of $100 for the Oozy 350 and $129 for the SPIKE 350 Vibrocore. They will also be available as wheelsets — $649 for the OOZY 350, $699.00 for the SPIKE 350 Vibrocore.
Spanks has also launched two new saddles and some grips for 2018. The trail inspired saddles and designed to support the rider equally well on uphill and downhill, while still facilitating movement.
The OOZY 220 saddle features a slight kick-up in the back for uphill, and added lower back support. The form includes design considerations that optimize padding and comfort in the sit bones zone, where riders typically experience the most discomfort and pinched nerves.
The ‘Human Factor’ grip pattern on the saddle upper has been designed to offer forward-backward, as well as sideways anti-slip where needed, and avoid unwanted friction where it counts. The OOZY 220’s slimmer sibling, the SPIKE 160 enjoys all the design considerations of the OOZY 220, but is streamlined for race applications and freeride. The saddles are available from early 2018 at a MSRP of $75.
Meanwhile, the completely redesigned single-lock grips have an ergonomic bar-end design. The Human Factor design principle in their new grips addresses multi-directional slide in a smooth, low profile tread. Vibration damping is maximized without the negative feeling of float. Tapered ends ensure comfort for the extended little finger when hands are positioned at the bar extremities for maximum leverage and control. With a suggested MSRP of $25.90, the grips will be available early 2018 and will be followed by the addition of the ‘plusher’ OOZY 33 Grips later in the year.
For more info please visit www.spank-ind.com.